Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lok Satta asks farmers to get ready to fight

The Lok Satta Party has called upon farmers to get ready for a serious fight against the State and Central Governments which have been depriving them of remunerative prices for agricultural produce.

The party’s State Working Committee, which met here yesterday, said in a resolution that 40 party teams would launch a publicity campaign in 150 mandals as part of its mission to unite farmers, supplementing party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan’s visits to districts. It suggested formation of farmers’ forums at the village level to keep the movement apolitical.

Addressing the media, party Working President D. V. V. S. Varma, General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao and Secretary P. Bhaskara Rao pointed out that the neighboring Karnataka Government collected a mere 1.5 percent market cess on paddy, allowed free movement of rice outside the State and announced a bonus of Rs.100 per quintal. In contrast, the Andhra Pradesh Government which earned Rs.1500 crore by way of tax and cess (totaling 10 percent), would not announce a bonus of Rs.200 a quintal of paddy.

By preventing free movement of rice outside the State and banning exports outside the country, the State and Central Governments are doing grave injustice to farmers. With a bumper crop round the corner and Government and private warehouses brimming with stocks, paddy prices are ruling below the minimum support prices, the party leaders said.

The leaders demanded that the State Government announce a bonus of Rs.200 a quintal above the minimum support price, facilitate pledge loans against paddy stocks in farmers’ homes, purchase discolored paddy and permit movement of rice outside the State. They wanted the Government of India to permit rice exports. The Karnataka Chief Minister would be leading an all-party delegation to Delhi to convince the Government of India on the imperative of exports in the present situation, the party leaders said.

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